Extravagant!

 "When He ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people." Ephesians 4:8

 

I recently read a great article by Dudley Hall concerning the extravagant life God offers to everyone through the most extravagant of all of His gifts, Jesus Christ. The entire Bible is filled from beginning to end with proof of that extravagant love and life. Why then do so many have such difficulty believing that? Worse, why do so many, most, reject the offer of that extravagant love? In the Garden, the devil deceived Eve into believing that love was anything but extravagant, that God was holding out on she and Adam. Adam, for his part, was not deceived, he simply rejected that love. Both states continue on today in the reaction of men and women everywhere to His extravagant love. For some real proof in this, we need look no further than the average believers prayer life.

Here's a probing question for each of us; when we pray, do we do so with the attitude that we have to somehow convince Him to help us? Do we believe that we have to wear Him out and down before He will answer? Do we approach Him as a reluctant Father, and like Eve, feel that He is holding back on us? That He could do so much more for us, but that He doesn't really care to. These may not be conscious attitudes, but I think they lurk within the hearts of many. I know they have lurked within mine. In both the Old and New Testaments He said that He had "much more for you (us) than this." That much more is so rarely realized because we are willing to settle for so much less. We grab the bread crumbs but miss the loaf. Jesus said "Freely I have given, freely receive." Our great problem is that we never seem to even begin to receive the fullness of all He has given. If He has already given all, why do we have so little? If the windows of heaven are open, it must be that the doors of our hearts are mostly or completely closed.

I think a great part of our problem is that we don't understand what it is that He offers and gives. We focus everything on the material and physical, on what is passing away. He centers on the eternal, that which can never be removed or taken away. We also misunderstand what He means by "good things." We think it is in what can be counted or accumulated, and always wrapped up in beautiful packaging. That's so often not how He works at all. Look at His greatest gift, Jesus Christ. His destination was always going to be Calvary. Calvary is Latin for the word "skull." A skull is the symbol of death, yet out of that death came His extravagant gift of life. His life. The eyes of flesh will always miss His gifts. They can only be seen and taken in with the eyes of His Spirit. Until that happens, we will always approach Him as beggars and orphans, instead of heirs and sons and daughters.

So how do you and I describe our love and relationship with Him today? Do we know and experience His extravagance, or see only a miser, reluctant to part with anything of value? The one with eyes to see will see. Unless he is blind to it all. Are you blind to it all?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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